ON-DEMAND

From Toxic to Tender Masculinity

Calendar
Streamed
Tuesday, April 3, 2018

In an age of toxic masculinity and acknowledgement of the pervasive rape culture in the U.S., how do we reimagine masculinity without the framework of gender and toxicity. What could tender masculinity look like?

Video transcript

So, what's up, everybody? My name is Q Wilson. I am one of the pleasure professionals here at O.school. I identify as a lot of different things. I identify as a queer, dandy, POC, kinky, leather, a boy, sex worker, masculine of center, sacred whore, a wealth of other identifiers could also be used for me. So a little bit about my background. I was born and raised in Columbia, South Carolina, which is in the southeast US. I also grew up with abstinence only sex education so it was a very different sort of thing than what I'm used to and what I've evolved into here after moving into the area, in about 2010. I have a passion for service, it's been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. And right now, since about maybe 2000, that service seems to be more geared towards sex and sexuality education. Hi Fiona, GMX. I'm gonna give you a little bit more background and then we'll get started on this chat. Let's see, I have a degree in public relations from the University of South Carolina. I am an Association of Talent Development certified trainer and a San Francisco sex information training sex educator. I'm also a member of the Kink, Leather and BDSM community which is where I figured out that sex is indeed my kink. I say all that to say this, The non-judgmental trauma-informed information I share with you all will be a combination of my academic, professional and lived experiences. So your mileage may vary which is one of the reasons I really really enjoy having folks join me in the chat, so then I can have information on other people's experiences and not just rely on my own. So I love having conversations, I like that to be a two-way thing. So last year, before the site really launched, a friend of mine sent me a link to this website and I knew that I really wanted to be a part of what Andrea was trying to do here with this particular platform. And for me, my personal goal in being a pleasure professional here at O.school is to openly share with you knowledge I have in hopes of helping you and pretty much all of us to raise our standards because no one should be having bad sex anymore. And all of that tides into almost every topic I'll present here, so all of these things are, I'll probably say that all of that again at other points but they all informed what I do and how I move through the world. Another thing to know about me is that I am neuro atypical. What does that mean? For me in my case it means that I have ADHD with an emphasis on hyperactivity. Sometimes that looks like me going on tangents which I generally find my way back. I may move around a bit, I definitely feel like I'm having the Italian hands today. And I struggle with pressured speech from time to time, it's not a big deal, just to let you know. So if you would please, if you haven't already, sign into the chat. You can use the US phone number to get a link to the chat or if you don't have a US phone number, feel free to use your email address and we'll send the link there. So, today I want to talk about a concept that Andrea brought up with me the other week, and it is this concept of tender masculinity. And it was something that I really wanted to start talking about, having discussions around because I wanted to... We hear so much about toxic masculinity and what that looks like. I wanted to take the opportunity to sort of share how I have chosen to move through the world and how that's informed and what tender masculinity looks like to myself as a POC queer, and people in my life. So I posed this question to my folks on Facebook to ask what they thought about tender masculinity and what that looked like to them. So if you want to, hop into the chat and tell me what things denote tender masculinity to you. There's no right or wrong, these are things that feel that way for you and connect and resonate for you, and I'd love to hear what those are. So yes, sign into the chat, US phone number. If you don't have a US phone number, you can use your email address, we'll get you the link, hop in and have a conversation. So when I think about how I am, the basis of me being a pleasure professional is being a null assigned person at birth, having, hey Justin. Having been raised female, watching how prevalent rape culture was growing up and moving into young adulthood and being an adult. Almost every one of my friends had been assaulted in some way. And I knew me being a person of color, masculine identified, dating people who are oftentimes identified more as femme, or seen as femme, that kind of... I fit into the binary box of being a guy and what I didn't want to do was further aggravate a situation for people that I love and care for. So I learned to move through the world a very trauma-informed sort of basis throughout everything that I do, because I realized in moving through the world, being friends, dating people, I'm generally bad in cleanup. Someone's done something in their lives that's just horrible, they have their own set of issues and things and what I didn't want was to exacerbate that. So I had the advantage of being raised and being around a bunch of female people and listening to their stories and hearing what was happening, and looking at the kind of devastation that caused for individuals. So I had the benefit of being on the front line paying attention and I don't think that we give folks who are not queer or who are struggling with toxic masculinity, any really... I wanted to try to kind of unravel what it is we can offer to other folks, those of us who see ourselves with tender masculinity, how do we set examples for other people, what are the things that we do, how do we support each other in continuing to be tender and not turning toxic, how do folks who identify more on the feminine spectrum, what is their responsibility for folks who are more on the feminine spectrum to support and help nurture tender masculinity? Is that not anyone's responsibility other than the person that is masculine identified? So just wanted to talk about a bunch of things about that and around that. So the way I moved through the world using a trauma-informed sort of background made it so that I recognize that when doing things like flirting, definitely when having sex with people, I needed to make sure, I wanted to make sure that I could create a safe container for someone to spend time with me, be intimate with me and have a great time but not feel shame or feel distressed in any way. So it became sort of a paramount thing for me to do that, to make sure that folks who were with me, who spent time with me had what they needed and could be themselves. So I started to, so all the things I started to learn about sex from the studying aspects, just about emotional labor, emotional development, possible landmines, any of those sorts of things and then also the physical aspects of sex and sexuality, mentality, all the things. I decided to create a way in which I move and create space for other people that's really comfortable and thoughtful. And so I want to talk a little bit about how I do that but I'd really love to have some feedback from you guys on what you think that looks like or what you do. I'm definitely gonna pull in some of the responses I got from folks on my social networking, that's gonna be great. So the other thing that I want to say is, I use terminology that you may not be familiar with. If that is the case, please hit me up in the chat and ask me about a particular term. I'm happy to explain having been involved with LGBT Pride stuff from a long way back, being LGBT workplace person and now being a sex worker and pornstar and doing, being a pleasure professional, all these things, my verbiage can change. So if there's something that I say or something you haven't heard, please ask me what that is and I'll gladly fill you in. And probably if you don't know what it is, somebody else doesn't know either so I would love the questions. So when I think about tender masculinity, I think of, just being kind and gentle. Being born in the southeastern United States as a southern born child, manners are everything. It doesn't matter what your socioeconomic status is. If you have good manners, you're treated a different way than others. So for me it was something fundamental to way I was raised and how I moved through the world. I am a huge flirt. Along with that flirting comes the knowledge that I have to allow space for people to want to flirt with me. I have to be aware of what my presence could potentially feel like to someone else. So learning to adapt to those sorts of things and figure out how to move through the world, I did relatively easily and I feel like a little bit like it's kind of cheating. I'm not gonna talk about toxic masculinity so much because I don't really know a whole lot about it in the sense of it's not something I do. I also don't surround myself with people who are like that. For the most part, people in my communities and the people who are my friends that I consider my friends are in my friends' circle. Toxic masculinity is just not something we allow. It's not something any of us aspire to, so it's harder for me to talk about that in a more knowledgeable sense. So yes I recognize and acknowledge that toxic masculinity is a thing, and I don't have the expertise in toxic masculinity to continue talking about it. So what I wanted to do was offer an opportunity to talk about something different, and perhaps a different side of that in what we can offer and how that looks sometimes. So for me what that kind of looks like is if I'm flirting, I'm aware of my body position. I'm aware of how close I am to the person, my language, but everything. And the more I practice it, the easier it became and it's not that it's a, it's not a game, it is how I move through the world because I go between so many different communities. And still maintain a wonderful reputation for being, I enjoy the reputation of being a nice guy. I think previously in our world and our communities as a whole in mainstream America believes, the nice guy is always supposed to finish last. Nice guys aren't wanted or, you wanna date a nice guy but you don't really want to date a nice, the movies are kind of like, the nice guy finishes last when in actuality, I think it's really important, if you are one of the nice guys you kind of know the deal. You know that you don't finish last. You know that when people need something as far as like support and comfort, that if you're the nice guy, you actually get to be in those spaces. And that to me is far more important than whether I'm gonna be able to hook up with someone in a physical sense and have sex. I want to be supportive, I want people who are femme identified or more feminine leaning on the spectrum to feel like I'm a safe space in their communities, that despite what mainstream media might say about a big black person, who looks like a dude that they know me. And my reputation is a pretty important one to me and I don't want that to be... I don't want that to change. And I appreciate the vulnerability that it takes for someone to come to me and say, I have an issue, whatever and I love the opportunity to be supportive. So for me, when I'm flirting it's just making sure that people are comfortable and feel safe. And I do things whether people know it or not, that's part of me being a service human. I don't need to be flirting to do the things I do. I do them because they're the nice thing to do, they're the right thing to do. Sharing spaces with people can be difficult, so just trying to be mindful of other people. And when you are, that's one of the things, being very mindful I think is one of the keys to being a bit more tenderly masculine. It's just being mindful of the fact that yes, you did not create the problems that someone else has but you could exacerbate that. And recognizing that and moving through the world with that knowledge and using that in an everyday sort of way. So if you're using that in an everyday sort of way, it becomes your pattern and it becomes the thing that you also allow other people to see as you move through the world. So other people who are looking for examples of that they're like, well that person is constantly surrounded by all of the lovely people. They seem to be one of the cool kids, I don't know. Whatever it is you think is like wow, huh, that strikes your fancy about that then you start to observe that person. So I'm happy that I can do that and share all of that and have some fun with folks at the same time. So I wanted to really quickly look at some of the responses I got from friends on social network when I asked what does tender masculinity looked like to you. So I have one from like who wrote, masculine folks who can cry without getting angry or embarrassed about it. Masculine folks who feed people whether that means cooking or just being in charge of ordering food and taking care of the logistics. Masculine folks who can be angry or upset and communicative without placing blame and without raising their voices. Masculine folks who can listen. So, that's a lot of really good information about the things that someone might see as being tenderly masculine. I think one of the things that I love about being a queer masculine of center human is that I chose and actively choose the parts of masculinity I want to incorporate into my life. And I get to choose and I've chosen what I think are the best parts of being masculine. I have the knowledge that femmes are independent entities, they can do what they want and I have the capacity to say I respect that and I'm offering this assistance if you so desire. So learning how to speak and be with people, there's a tendency and there's studies about it and I say tendency, there's a tendency for male, sis males to talk over women in meetings and group things and board meetings, all the things. So learning to take a step back as a masculine of center or masculine identified human, to just take a moment. When you ask someone how their day is, actually stop and listen. When you ask, when someone starts to share something about themselves, don't necessarily make it a one upmanship. Just hold space for them to speak and one of the things that's kind of hard about that, is we have been taught that silence, we've been conditioned at least, silence in a conversation is bad. So we start to really quickly ramble on to something about what it is we're doing or da da da. We don't like to have that silence. In that silence for some people is their taking of a breath, getting their thoughts together and they may do it slower than you do. So allowing the pause, learning to not be nervous about it but just rest in that pause and give that person the opportunity to really start to say something. Because some folks it takes longer. I am a not so challenged human when it comes to talking, and one of the things that I use as a classroom agreement is sort of step up, step back. If you hear yourself or your own voice more than you hear the other person, or the other people that are representing then you may want to just kind of dial that in and just remember that this is something that's like people, they notice it. It would be typical of a masculine of center person or a masculine person to keep talking over. It's atypical when you hold space or stop other people from talking over someone. So I feel like tender masculinity is also standing up for other people when you can, when it's safe for you to do so. Because not all of us feel like I do. I am at a point in my life where I'm like microaggressions, we're talking about them as soon as they happen. So I'm at that point where I feel very comfortable with that and I don't have a problem adding my voice to a conversation. Not all of us feel that way, I recognize that so do what you can with in the realm of safety for yourself and the people around you. So always think keeping your own safety in mind. However, I think it's one of those things that as a tender masculine human, it's like showing up with pictures of like butches and babypeople, like just swoon. Butches with small animals or masculine folks with small animals, there's a level of tenderness that comes with seeing that. And sort of just moving through the world with that sort of tenderness, paying attention to other people in your communities. No, you don't have to do all of the things. You can't fix all of the things and you can't possibly do all the things. However, doing what you can, where you can makes a difference and you'd be surprised at how that ripples out and that trickles off to other people. You doing the one thing or doing one thing for one person, you never know and this is one of the things when I used to talk to corporations is that, the way you treat one person always has a ripple effect. You have no idea how far that reaches when it's like, you tell people in corporate business situations that it's like when you get a bad review, or you get that bad word of mouth thing. It just goes so far. But it also goes so far the other way when you do something kind, when you're thoughtful, when you don't emulate the worst characteristics of masculinity, I think that's a good start. Jbegs asked, what kinds of things do you do to stay considerate too feminine identified persons? Do you ever feel you start to act more aggressively masculine and how do you check or address that? What do I do to stay considerate to feminine identified persons? I try my very best to not assume anything. I've learned to ask. While chivalry is fantastic, and it's a great way to move through the world with people you know, if you don't know a person, the best way to sort of check your privilege, way to check how you're moving with this person is to ask them how they feel, what it is they need. With anyone you're ever trying to do something, ask what they want or if they want your help. So that's how I start off, is like, I'm like, do you need any help, do you need any assistance? How can I be of assistance? I don't assume that they need me. I don't just step in just because. Because many people whether they be feminine, whether they be differently abled, they got it. They don't need your help. Sometimes they may want it but they may not need it. I don't become overly aggressive or hyper masculine about things. I identify as a faggot and a dandy. So I don't have that sort of gear, that drive to be hyper masculine. I think the only time, I can say the only time I think I'm like that is if I am with queer people that are in my sphere, that I love and adore. They're my friends and I feel protective. Or if I'm with a group of feminine queers and I'm the more masculine presenting and something's going on, I will definitely pop up when that happens. But it's more in response to someone outside of my sphere, someone who's not queer. Say a guy in a bar being ridiculous, that's far more likely to make me puff up than anything else so I don't really feel that super aggressive or aggressively masculine thing. It's not my mode, it's not my gear. That takes a lot of energy and being that aggressive doesn't really bode well for friendship, for having people hang out, anything. So I'm not really big on that. Again, if you guys are just now joining, you can still join us in the chat. That was a question that was being asked in the chat. You can use the US phone number, if you have a US phone number. If you are outside the US or don't want to use your phone number, you can also use an email address and we'll email you a link so you can join into the chat. So I'm gonna go back and look at some of the other, read some of the other responses I got from folks as well. Someone told me once butch dykes would be horrible mothers as they are too masculine to be able to be maternal. Happy to have been proving that person and all of those wrong daily for 3.5years. Again it's like I was saying earlier, that butches with babies, how could anybody think that was going to be a bad idea? I've seen some of the most amazing dynamics with the more masculine person in a relationship with kids. It doesn't matter, it's just like anything else. There's no difference in like child rearing. So a part of that is like how much do we as queers still hold on to those binary concepts of, and heteronormativity, how much are we hanging off of that? Or how much of that framework are we using to like continue to build, and if so why? What's the benefit for us? What do we get out of that? And if we are, how do we change that? So let's see. My girl, again I was asking from social media, what in their own words was tender masculinity looked like. And this one is the response I got. Here is, my girlfriend tenderly calling the roomba little one, and putting it back in the dock when we weren't ready for it to do the thing, do the floors. Tender. Being the protector, the strong protector who still cries at sappy movies with his girl. Being the hard-working provider yet making the time to be at every event for our daughter. Being the overprotective parent yet listening to the preteen as she's being picked on and calming her down. Being the supportive person with tenderness and love to all those I let in my life no matter what society thinks I am like. So I mean again, that tenderness, that sort of ability to listen, those seem to be highly valued in a tender masculinity sort of, if you're thinking along those lines. I love all the photos that everybody posted, thank you so much. So many butches with babies. And then they grow up sometime. And the response I got on one of them was him crying as he watches the youngest get ready for prom. I mean that's pretty tender. It's a fabulous thing to I feel like, be that sort of relaxed and that sort of freedom and I think that's one of the disadvantages for assigned male at birth is that they don't have the opportunity to be that way. They're raised from the beginning to hold all their emotions in, bottle it up, and not always... That doesn't end well for anyone. So I think as queers who identify as masculine, as trans folks who identify as masculine, we have an advantage. We know that these things are... That those things are not good. We already know that we have the ability and it's okay for us to do the emotional things. To cry, to laugh, to be happy and be sad. Any of those things, we have that advantage and I love that we take advantage of that. That we are constantly, and yes I know I say we and before anyone says well not all, yes you're right, not all queers, you're correct. However, the queers of my sphere of influence, of people that I'm around on a regular basis, these are folks that I feel like we do that. Thanks Fiona. Fiona was saying these are all such great examples. That's what I get to see and that's what I want to share and that's the kind of thing that I want to hear from other folks. What are things that really resonate with you about tender masculinity? What is it, how do you support others who are tenderly masculine? I'm a big fan of bro dates, going to the mall, hanging out, going to park, just kicking it, just supporting each other and being humans and taking care of ourselves. I love getting together with a bunch of friends. Some of us are playing games, some of us are talking and we're just having a time together where we can all be who we are and support each other in being fantastic humans overall. I mean there's, how can you go wrong with that? So a couple of other ones that we have here. Falling asleep in Daddy's arms every night for nearly 24 years. My older son nurturing his siblings. My partner holding my hand when I'm scared of the dentist. The way my Dom says no to me. Not because he wants to, but because I need the security growth and love of his firm boundary. Another one is inviting others into conversation or contact without expecting it. That's one of the things, I ask people... I'm a hugger, I totally am a hugger but I don't lean in for a hug first. I will actually look at people and say, are you huggable today? Because that can change day to day for folks being mindful of, you don't know what kind of illness or body issues someone could be having in a particular day, you never know, they're probably being sensitive to touch. So asking beforehand is amazing. Generally if people are happy to hug, they're happy to hug. If they're not, sometimes they give me an explanation which is not necessary. I don't necessarily need them to say anything. If they say no, I'm like okay, thank you for telling me. And then I don't make a big deal out of it because it's not a reflection of them not wanting to be around me, or connecting with me. It's a reflection of them taking care of themselves. That's how I choose to see it. Making space more than one needs to for other people's decisions, emotions and experiences. I think that's a really good one as far as taking that time to say that these are things that we want to sit down and have a conversation. We want to hear what it is that you have to say. I want to hear your thoughts and ideas on this thing or this position that we have or whatever is going on. So making that space for others to actually feel welcome to add their voice, add their emotions to the conversation which is something I was saying earlier. Making that space, holding space for someone to... Being comfortable in the silence, getting comfortable in the silence and knowing that some people need time. And some more need more time than others. So yeah, holding that space for others to feel welcome in doing that. So here's another set of things. The willingness to be soft and vulnerable in moments when it would be easier to be hard and angry, or angry because I've learned that for me, anger is often really fear or hurt which is another thing. It takes a lot of work to be emotionally intelligent about yourself. It's hard work and it's consistent work, something you will always have to work on and we're always growing ideally. So learning when you have that fear or you have the anger, what's behind that anger? A lot of times for many people, it is that it's just the fear that's behind the anger. They have that flash, they don't know what caused the anger and then they have a knee-jerk reaction to that. That generally sets off a chain of really unhappy, unpleasant things. So learning more about yourself. I'm doing a lot of introspection. I'm a huge fan of therapy if you can afford it. It's an amazing thing, you learn lots hopefully about yourself. I think this is one of those things, where it helps you in those situations where if you're talking with someone who's not as aware about themselves or how to interact, then you have that moment, you have the wherewithal to hold space for someone while they figure out as well that their knee-jerk response or their anger response is actually a fear in response to X, Y or Z. So it's a lot of work but it's worthwhile work. My boy's head in my lap as he kneels at my feet. Me meeting my partner at the door with a hot cup of tea when she's had a hard day. The gentle tender caresses I get in extended rough body play scene. I love all of those. Those are the kinds of things, the simple things seem to be really impactful. Post-it notes, I am a big fan of putting post-it notes in people's lunch boxes, bags. I've been known to put them in coat pockets. So those little things, those are touches that are unexpected and mean the world. I say that as a person who likes to get those things as well so I know for me that's really important. It's something that makes me feel seen and valued. I don't need to have giant dollar sign anything to feel seen and valued. Those sorts of things are all beautiful things that make me feel valued. What else we got going on? We have a good bit of time still left so if you haven't logged in to the chat, please do so. I'd love to have this be a conversation conversation instead of me just prattling on about all the things I can talk about with this, so I'd really love to talk about some of the things you want to discuss, so yay. Also if you are signed, if you were signed into the chat, you could see the tip jar. With any of the live streams that we do here, pleasure professionals are... We have a tip jar. So if you enjoy the content, if you enjoy the particular presenter, by all means, you can go and hit the tip jar. I think it does a $5 tip and you can tip as often as you want, so please log in. Let's see, let's go with a couple of other... I love that so many people are also following the conversation. Providing support from a place of vulnerable connection, not a place of provider obligation. So I would interpret that as actually being open when connecting with someone as opposed to sitting there and listening with that sort of blank look, not actively engaging. You're doing it because you're their dominant or their partner or something else in their life and you feel like it's your job to do it. And that comes across, and people can feel that when it's, yeah, it's definitely a noticeable thing. So that sort of not being genuine about the connection, not being genuine when providing that support, just doing it merely from a sense of obligation. It's easy to feel and it doesn't feel great so there's that. So masculinity that doesn't need an opposite to complete it. Strong or weak, blah blah blah. Masculinity that values life, celebrates love and kindness. Masculinity that makes room for other identities and that's a definite thing, I think is amazing. I've only, like my world has grown so much and I went from being a lesbian in South Carolina to being a queer in The Bay. My life and my world expanded and I needed my vocabulary about my relationships, about my connections to grow and expand as well. I didn't need just the opposite of this to be this. I wanted to make sure that anyone I invited into my life felt welcome and knew there was space for them, and it didn't matter about identities. Yes, I'm masculine presenting, I'm often with feminine identified folks. That's not why I care for them. I care about the people who are behind that label. That's just one part of who they are. I don't need the us-versus-them or this and that, the binary pieces of that. It kind of had to fall away for me because I have trans lovers and partners, I have people who are a gender in my life. I have people who are fluctuating. So I want to make sure that no matter where my people are, be they lovers or friends, they know that in my world that they're truly accepted. So I think that's a pretty important piece is not seeing anyone as the opposite of the thing, and not making that a component of what you're doing and how you move through the world. Masculinity that does not have to be quote, the norm or that does not other different identities, absolutely. I think that's fantastic, I think, to acknowledge and think about is that having space that like... I look butch, yes. I am fairly dandy and I am great at making brunch. I'm really bad at building shelves. I can makeyou build the shelves and that's fine, and I think for me, it's not that. I choose to embody a different type of masculinity, a very helping, a very servicey masculinity but not one that feels in my masculinity, in my opinion, I don't think that I ever get the feeling or that I do things or expect people to do things because it's something that doesn't set well with me is when people have this expectation of what I should be, who I should date, based on a particular identifier that I have. That's something that I don't like to have happen to me, so I'm really cognizant and I try really hard to not do that to other people. So I think a lot of things around tender masculinity or non-toxic masculinity, is just a lot of, I would say common sense but I can hear my mother and my brain going common since isn't common. So things that I think are common decent ways to behave with one another which is one of those things I think feel like our society has gotten away from. Anyone can yell at anyone for any reason on the internet. You've got keyboard trolls and keyboard warriors who are out there in force doing all the things and not really caring about the fallout. It's kind of that aspect of, we don't see each other actually physically as much so we kind of have that thing where we're doing, we're saying things and doing things as a whole, as a group that we wouldn't have done if we had to stand face to face with that person. To me, that gives me a nice point to like think, would I say this to someone to their face? Are there moments where I'm gonna not be my best self? Yes, hopefully it's something in my home and I'm alone because once you say things, it kind of moves through the world. We all have moments where we're not our best selves. I think when we have those moments, taking the time to evaluate our motivations and why we said or did the thing we did, I think a big part of tender masculinity is owning our mistakes, owning up to it, going to someone and apologizing, not saying something, but giving an honest apology, not a well, it sucks that you feel bad about that thing, blah blah blah blah, instead of a, I apologize that I did something to create the situation or to create that feeling for you. People's feelings are valid, acknowledging that and saying that to them is important I think, it's part of that tender masculinity as well. Being willing to say, I made a mistake or I did a bad, I caused an ouch 'cause sometimes, I find a lot of times in relationships, it's not even that there was a mistake done, there's a language thing. And one person says one thing and the other person interprets it another way. And if there was just the initial stop and go, wow, I apologized that that is what you heard, here's what my intent was. Saying something, acknowledging it and not being a jerk about it, not being overly aggressive about it, not being like, oh well, you made a mistake, I'm not wrong, blah blah blah blah. Those are the things, like to me that's common sense. To me it makes perfect sense to, I guess I sort of followed the rules of being a gentleman loosely because there's parts of being a gentleman and chivalrous history that is not as, supportive or thoughtful when it comes to the other person you're engaging with. The other thing is like I am attracted to masculine of center folks myself, so this doesn't necessarily just go masculine of center to feminine of center people. Anyone you choose to connect with and relate to I think it's important that if you are a masculine human, that this is how you move, that this is what you... That you allow space for other masculine folks to be kind and softer, if that's a thing for, just allow and acknowledge that sort of space and supporting that. From the chat, I've got masculinity where your wants include, become the wants of others. Yes, I think that's fantastic. When you're thinking about it, that's just being inclusive and thinking of the things that, it's being mindful. I moved out to California, before I moved out to California I remember saying I would never live in California. Fires, earthquakes and mudslides were the reasons I had said. I am not a queer who migrated here on purpose. I was planning on migrating from South Carolina to Atlanta. I knew where I was going. I just kind of overshot my landing and I ended up here. So one of the other things I recognized when I got here was the language difference in the way we say things. And it's really what I would have deemed before previously, it's really hippie language. What I've discovered is that it's actually, those are the words I think we need to use more. They're the words that are more about emotion, about opening up, about vulnerability. I mean lots of people, like vulnerability, when I can be vulnerable with someone and have someone be vulnerable with me, that's amazing. To me in my brain, if someone feels comfortable enough with me to be vulnerable, that says to me a lot about how I'm viewed by that person and reaffirms for me that the way I choose to move through the world is a good one. So I love that I am now using the hippie language as I would have said before, and it's a learning thing. A lot of what I feel like is tender masculinity or softer masculinity is I find that most people, they're a lot more introspective, they are willing to do the work, they're willing to be mindful and it's not to say I started out this way. I am fairly certain there are several people in the world who would attest to me being a jerk. And when I'm called a jerk or told that I'm being a jerk which hasn't really happened a lot, I sit down, take that moment and take that feedback. I don't get angry at the other person. I appreciate that they're willing to like risk telling me that I was being a jerk, because that's not easy. I mean when we're talking about looking at connections and the way we talk to people and the way we interact with people through the lens of what the United States, the climate and the culture is right now, I think in an effort to keep yourself safe, to help others see how to keep themselves and other people safe, it's kind of imperative that you learn how to take that inventory. Learn how to sit and be with emotions and things like that. Learn how to hold space for other people to be vulnerable. And even if it makes you a little uncomfortable, vulnerability is uncomfortable. It is not easy, it's super super uncomfortable. So if that's something that is difficult, you feel like it's too difficult, don't worry. You're not alone. It is as difficult as it sounds. However, the benefits of that are you learn more about yourself, you become more solid in who you are and how you move through the world regardless of anyone else, because then you know things about yourself, you know how to apply that to interactions with other folks and what that can look like on a day to day basis. So I'm a big fan of taking the inventory personally and doing all the work. It's worth it to be able to provide spaces for other folks to feel comfortable, to feel safe because as queer, as trans, as people of color, we often don't feel safe whether that's someone masculine or feminine of spectrum. So when we look at how we... If we're allowing ourselves to be more vulnerable, to be tender and show that, then we give other people the opportunity to do that and reflect that back for us. And I feel like that's a great way to build community. I'm kind of a Pollyanna about those sorts of things. I really do believe that it starts with us actually acknowledging each other and listening and moving from there. So I think that's part of that. I think with the things I've read and the responses that I got, that a large part of that is actually just holding space for other people to be and exist and just live and be who they are. Let's see, so there were a couple of other ones that I wanted to read it really quick 'cause we're already getting short on time. And with that in mind, again there's just enough time to log into the chat and give me your questions, your responses, your feedback on what is tender masculinity and what does that look like to you? One of the things I was asking earlier, and it's... I don't have an answer to this. So is it that we... Do people who are not masculine of center hold any responsibility for helping support folks who are masculine of center as they try to evolve into more tender humans? What does that look like? What does it look like if masculine of center folks are actually holding each other up and supporting each other in their growth and development as more tender beings? Who's doing that work? Is there anyone out there doing that work? I would love to know that. I'd be happy to pimp you out over here. And what does that look like, and how does it feed into our queer societies and queer communities and then community as a whole? I'm always going to put queer society and queer community first because that is where I reside. My intersectional life is kind of insane. There are so many different parts of my life. That there's so many different aspects and they all count. Every one of them counts. Queerness, my queerness, my queer community takes into account all those things. So I choose to, when I think about how we're doing things, what we're doing and the effects, my first thought is always going to be queer. So it's not a diss to anyone else, it is a support to my own community because hey, we need that kind of stuff. Let's see. Okay, I think I might have covered all of them. Oh wait, no. Authentic and connected, attentive to others wants and needs, firm boundaries and an open heart. I think those are all fantastic. Those are things that, authenticity is a huge thing and I know that it's a word that you hear and it's like, uh. It does mean something, it actually has a meaning. And when someone is being and they're, are capable of being our authentic selves and when they're being their genuine selves, it helps others. You know when someone's being phony, but you know when someone's being genuinely kind and genuinely nice. And that's really, it's a wonderful thing to see that and then to allow people to reflect that back at you. So I think that that's a great point about often not feeling safe and the gift of giving the opportunity to feel safe to others, absolutely. And just about everything that I do because I love connecting with people so much. I'm an incredibly social human and I love that I get to spend so much time meeting new people and doing different things. Often times as a presenter somewhere, I'm gonna be there for X number of hours and that's all the time I have. Whether I want to or not, that's all it is. I've got a limited amount of time. What I want to do whenever I'm in a space is to be as open to folks as possible so that they feel like they can approach me. Because I may not, it's like, I've been saying on here like talking about a holding space for people to take their time to get up the courage to say the thing they want to say. So I can be in an event or doing a thing and I know lots of people will ask the questions and do all the things. But some people won't, but what I want to create, and want to be really really evident for other folks is that I'm so open to questions. Please come up to me after. Even without saying that, I like having that openness about myself. I love creating that space where someone who is super super shy in a classroom or super super shy at an event, at a con to... They feel safe enough to approach me after I have been doing the talk and the thing, which is a huge thing because I don't know about any of you but it's hard to get... If someone resonates with you as a speaker, often they're resonating with other people as well so there's this line, there's a bunch of people. If you're a more seasoned person with that, it's not a big deal. If you're a person who's shyer or quieter, that's a hard thing. So I absolutely appreciate those spaces that I've created where people are like, hi, I just wanted to say this thing and will come up to me afterwards that I think making sure that others around you feel safe, as safe as you could possibly make them in larger situations but definitely in one-on-one and more intimate situations, it's amazing that we can build such a different reality, such a different world of I feel like my queerness operates despite and outside of all of the other heteronormative or usual constraints of rules. Like I should date one way or should date this. My queerness allows me to do all the things that I want to do because my peers, my friends, the people in my sphere of influence, we value each other's safety, we value each other's comfort. And that doesn't mean buying slippers. Sometimes that just means sending a text message to say hey. Sometimes that means showing up for someone when they're having a super hard time, helping them pack their stuff if they've got to do something. Or just being there to support. So creating a safe space and being supportive, it can take on a lot of different things, a lot of different ways that we can look into that. And it's almost super easy. It's just about being willing to give time and attention to folks when they need that. And I think that's important, we all kind of need that. So we've got about five minutes. I may end up ending this just a tiny bit early. You guys have been on here forever today. I appreciate everyone following, I can see the first sort of go up and down so yay. And I know that what I can see number wise probably isn't the exact number, because some of you have to do with firewalls and blah blah blah, so thanks for sticking this out for the entire hour. I encourage you to hang around for the rest of the pleasure professionals who are on tonight. We do live streams every day from I think 3:00 to 7:00 or 3:00 to 8:00 Pacific time. So come back anytime. We have a wealth of people who have chosen to give their time and talents to be pleasure professionals here at O.school. Andrea, the person who created this platform is an amazing human who has a huge heart, and I think this platform that we're using, the fact that you guys can come here, we have a schedule posted, you know who's doing what and you don't have to pay for it, it's amazing. It's something we haven't been able to do before in sex education, or I haven't experienced previously and I've been doing sex education, sex and sexuality education for over a decade now. So this platform is amazing. Please by all means, hang out and see some of the other pleasure professionals. If you're looking for me, you can find me on Facebook, I'm Q. Wilson on Facebook. I have two Twitter accounts. One is a not-safe-for-work Twitter account and that one is underscore @_Qtip_. The other one is a fairly professional one so you're safe with that one, and it's @QWilsonCA. I would love to have feedback. Let me know if you had other questions if you couldn't log in to the chat or you didn't want to at the moment. Hit me up in the DM or send me a messenger and I'd love to have your feedback. Thanks again. If you're signed in and you haven't done a tip yet and you want to, now's a good time. Stick around, hang around, see the other folks. Fiona and Justin, thank you so much for being my moderators. All of our communities, all of our chats are moderated so just in case that might have been an issue or might have been a thought, we actually have moderators in our chat rooms to kind of keep the hubbub down, and make sure we're being productive and everyone's minding the community standards that we've set. So thank you all for another fabulous stream. Have a good night and I'll see you later this week.

From Toxic to Tender Masculinity

Date
Tue
Apr 3, 2018
|
3:00 pm
|
Calendar
Tuesday, April 3, 2018
|
3:00 pm

In an age of toxic masculinity and acknowledgement of the pervasive rape culture in the U.S., how do we reimagine masculinity without the framework of gender and toxicity. What could tender masculinity look like?

Calendar

Upcoming
live streams

Join our live streams to learn from experts, ask questions, and interact with a diverse community of sex positive people.

Missed a live stream? Check out our On-demand classes

Dating after Divorce or a Long Relationship

Date
Wednesday, March 27, 2019
|
3:00 pm
Date
Wed
Mar 27, 2019
|
3:00 pm
|

Dating again after a divorce or a long term relationship? Sensuality expert Lucia Pavone has guided many people on this journey, and she's here to help you too. For an hour, come hear her advice and ask your questions. It's free and totally anonymous. 6PM PT / 9PM ET

Shame free Seeds of Sexual Development

Date
Thursday, July 18, 2019
|
3:00 pm
Date
Thu
Jul 18, 2019
|
3:00 pm
|

What does sexual development look like in young children? What tools can parents and caregivers use to support children growing into sexually healthy adults? Lydia will share strategies for promoting shame-free conversation with children.